Getting started with the Jobs-to-be-Done framework
When we started working on Fabman.io and analyzed our potential users’ needs and desires, it quickly lead to a huge set of features we’d like to implement.
You know how it goes: You start with a simple requirement and a few “what if …” questions later you’re facing a juggernaut of complexity.
We needed a way to boil everything down into a meaningful, manageable set of features and separate the need-to-haves from the nice-to-haves. We wanted to set course for a blue ocean that we can actually reach with our small team. That’s when I discovered the Jobs-to-be-Done framework and really got hooked!
You might have heard about the milkshake story, but if you’re like me, it doesn’t seem like something you can easily apply to software. It took several articles and talks from Ryan Singer until I got interested and tried to learn more.
What is Jobs-to-be-Done?
For me, Jobs has two big benefits: It provides a way to talk to customers and find out what their driving forces and motivations are.
But, more importantly, it gives me a way to think about our customers that is way more useful than personas. It sharpens you mind on what’s really necessary. It sometimes makes it obvious that the same feature needs to be presented differently based on your user’s current situation.
Unfortunately, good resources on the Jobs-to-be-Done framework are hard to find. The official homepage does a really bad job at teaching you the basics, the Re-Wired group is a bit thin on content and Strategyn’s website seems focused on attracting Enterprise (with a capital E!) customers — not sharing and teaching.
To make things worse, most of the valuable information is buried in podcasts and video talks and therefore difficult to google.
So here’s my “learn about JTBD and apply it to your small team” list of resources:
- Watch Clay’s Milkshake video (5 minutes) and this talk from Bob Moesta (8 minutes) to get a basic understanding of JTBD.
- I found watching or listening to real interviews most valuable, but they are loooong, so save them for boring commute. Bob’s Porsche interview on Critical Path was my first one, the matrace interview my second.
- Bob’s talk during Business of Software contains some interesting information at the beginning but I found the following interview less valuable than the ones above.
- From there I started listening to the JTBD podcast in chronological order, looking for shows with Clayton Christensen, Jason Fried, Ryan Singer or JTBD interview examples.
- Generally, look for anything from these people. Ryan Singer and Jason Fried of Basecamp fame have fully embraced the idea and I’m still learning a ton by following their work.
- Intercom on Jobs-to-be-Done is a quick read with some valuable insights and they had interviews with Bob Moesta and Jason Fried on their podcast.
Do you know any other good resources on JTBD? Have you successfully applied JTBD as a small team? Let me know via twitter or drop me a message!